How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Somerset 49281
Picking the ideal dental assistant program near Somerset MI is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Somerset dental practice and can carry out a multitude of functions. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Michigan dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Michigan dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Somerset dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Michigan practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Michigan junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Somerset area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Somerset home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental online school is the best option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Somerset area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options also. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Michigan programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Somerset area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Somerset area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Somerset area dental programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Somerset dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Michigan schools you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 49281 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Somerset in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Dental Program near Somerset MIEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.